Sharing the Wisdom: What I Learned from a Friend About the Gift of Presence

I can’t remember exactly when we met her. We had arrived in the snowy tundra in January of my fifth-grade year. I know it was after the permafrost had thawed, and it was after “mud season,” because she was wearing high heels as she stood there, not mud boots. It had been a hard winter. The transition to the sleepy town of two stoplights was not an easy one for our family. We were far […]

Sharing the Wisdom: What I Learned from My Grandfather About Courage and Nature

When I was a child, my brother and I spent long summers with my grandparents on their retirement farm outside of Cornwall, Ontario. My grandparents were both immigrants from Latvia and often offered perspective or advice from their old country. Most of what I learned from them came in the form of storytelling. In 1944, my grandmother gave birth in a hospital with bombed-out windows and little heat in the December cold. After recovering from […]

Wisdom

There is a difference between knowledge and wisdom, between someone who’s a brain and someone to whom we bring our pain. Someone wise does know which things can’t be changed and which can, and he or she is at peace with that. The wise person accepts things as they are, accepts his or her position in the universe: far better than a rock or a carrot or a pig, far less than God. Science is […]

Wisdom Story Examen

We are quite accustomed to hearing wisdom sayings, such as those found in the book of Proverbs or what we look for in a collection of quotations from famous people. This wisdom comes in short phrases, maybe funny or maybe profound. Perhaps we memorize it and store it away. However, the wisdom that makes its deepest impact on us is what we absorb from stories. A classic myth or fairy tale instills insight that stimulates […]

Wise Thoughts for the Graduate—and for the Rest of Us Too

In this graduation season, we share some wise and hopeful words from the late Lisa-Marie Calderone-Stewart, in I Wasn’t Dead When I Wrote This: Advice Given in the Nick of Time: If you still think everything seems hopeless, I invite you to do a simple exercise. On one side of a piece of paper, try listing all the problematic issues you can think of—things like hunger and poverty and sickness and homelessness and bullying and […]

Mom’s Wisdom

My mom always said, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” This is a mantra of my youth that tumbles as easily out of my mouth as reciting the Our Father. Like so many family sayings, these words are already making their way down to another generation, as I often catch myself saying the phrase to my own children. I chuckle when I hear one of my kids say to another, “Treat me […]

Wisdom Days

Fridays have become Wisdom Days. I will be 60 in a few weeks and after 38 years of working full-time, I asked my boss/friend/work partner if I could reduce to working four days a week. Since August 1, I have been taking off every Friday. Before my first day off even came up, I found myself sitting in a discussion group with a Jesuit who was visiting campus. “What are you going to do with […]

When God Sings through Your Life

Try to imagine God singing through your soul. God is expressing love, wisdom, beauty, and truth through your specific life. What would God’s vocabulary be? What words frequently show up in your conversation, in your thoughts? Are they words with a distinctive accent? What region of the country or the world is evident in your words and the way you speak them? What kinds of work does God work through, using your life? What do […]